Grass offers social, environmental and economic benefits
|Photo courtesy of Rachel Kramer, Flickr.|
(HIT) – When most people think about the benefits of natural turf lawns, they think about their value as an attractive setting for outdoor recreation and entertainment for individual homeowners or families. While the value to homeowners is significant, lawns also offer social, environmental and economic benefits to the entire community.
The turfgrass experts at Grass Seed USA have identified the top five ways in which natural grass lawns improve a community:
- Lawns bring communities together. Homeowners with lawns spend more time in their yards and interact more with their neighbors. From soccer games for the kids on the block to barbecues for the adults, a lush green lawn provides the perfect location for casual community gatherings.
- Well-maintained grass reduces crime and discourages littering. In 2009, teams from the Michigan State University turfgrass science program began planting and maintaining grass around abandoned homes and in vacant lots and parks in Flint, Michigan. After three years of the program, residents were asked, among other things, whether they felt safer in the neighborhood (47% strongly agreed, 21% agreed, 16% neutral, 5% disagreed, 11% strongly disagreed), whether they trusted their neighbors more (39% strongly agreed, 22% agreed, 33% neutral, 6% disagreed) and whether there was less trash in the neighborhood (63% strongly agreed, 37% agreed).
- Turfgrass increases fire safety. For communities adjacent to woodland or brush areas, green grass cover can serve as a firebreak. Studies have shown that due to its low fuel value, turfgrass retards the spread of wildfires. Lawns can also serve as defensible spaces from which firefighters can work to protect homes.
- Grass provides natural runoff, flood and erosion control. Turfgrass effectively absorbs rainfall, decreasing storm flow and flooding. As well as protecting homes from flooding, the excellent water retention contributes to groundwater recharge, keeps pollutants from reaching waterways and reduces the need for man-made water-control structures in urban areas. Grass cover is also an extremely efficient method of stabilizing soil and preventing erosion caused by wind and water.
- Lawns raise neighborhood home values. A well-maintained lawn can increase a homes value by up to 15 percent providing a boost to the entire neighborhood. Potential buyers find lawns appealing because they are aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable to use and environmentally friendly. According to a Gallup survey, attractive landscaping can provide a 100-200 percent return on investment much higher than the return provided by many other home improvement projects.
A lush green lawn has long been part of the American dream, and although the accompanying white picket fence may have slid down the priority list, homeowners still appreciate the value of natural grass. That value extends beyond the property boundary, bringing positive impacts to the larger community.
About Grass Seed USA
Grass Seed USA is a national coalition of grass seed farmers and academic turf specialists with a wealth of experience in studying, growing and harvesting grass and grass seed. The coalition seeks to inform and educate residential and commercial customers about the benefits of grass and best practices for responsibly growing and maintaining healthy turf. For more information, visit www.weseedamerica.com, or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.